Oh my gosh the weather has turned chilly here in North Wales. This is an example of the view from my lounge window for the past couple of weeks:
However, yesterday I awoke to see beautiful blue skies, a sparkling sea and a blanket of snow covering Mount Snowdon – truly it was a breathtaking sight.
With it being November and the prospect of more cold weather here in the UK I decided to make another Morris blazer but this time in a warmer, more sturdy fabric than my previous ponte knit version here.
I used the Grainline Morris Blazer pattern which is designed specifically for stable woven or knit fabrics which have some stretch. I really love this pattern as I often want to dress up an outfit without feeling that I’m overdressed and this jacket just seems to be the perfect match between smart and casual.
When a photo of Clothspot’s new red velvet fabric popped up in my Facebook feed I just knew I had to buy some. I didn’t specifically have the Morris blazer in mind at the time but I just had to have the Winter Cupcake velveteen in my stash to get out and stroke whenever the fancy took me. Oh dear, that makes me sound very strange doesn’t it? But any fellow fabric stash addicts will understand exactly where I’m coming from (I hope)
It is medium weight velveteen fabric with a composition of 96% cotton and 4% spandex with a 30% two way stretch. It is priced at £13.95 per metre (140cm wide) and I purchased 2 meters (although I only needed 1.7m for the jacket)
I didn’t pre-wash the fabric for this jacket. I normally always pre-wash but I was nervous of even attempting to stick velveteen through a standard wash. This jacket is meant mainly for special occasions and I don’t think it will get a huge amount of wear so fingers (and toes) crossed that it won’t need much in the way of washing in the future.
I knew from my previous Morris blazer that I really ought to add in some extra fabric over the chest area so I incorporated a 2″ FBA (which was actually 1″ on each side). The downside to this was that I needed to include a dart, which isn’t part of the Morris blazer design. However, I’m happy with the finished result, I have much more room in the front, the blazer hangs much better than my previous version and the darts really aren’t that obvious.
Being on the larger side I wanted the jacket to cover a little more of my derriere, hips and tummy so I lengthened the bodice back and front by 1.5″
As I have quite a pronounced lump on my upper neck (from years of crafting and using a computer) I added a high round back adjustment of 5/8″. Luckily the Morris blazer already has a back seam rather than being cut on the fold so I didn’t need to adapt the pattern further as a high round back adjustment of 5/8″ or more really does need to be performed on a back seam.
Even though I narrowed the shoulders by an inch on my previous version they were still dropping well past my shoulder line so I took off a further 1/2″
I kept the full arm adjustment from my previous adaptations – definitely necessary for me as the Morris pattern does seem to be drafted for slender arms
As per my previous jacket, I took out some of the excess fabric around the shoulder area by using the slash and spread method (or rather slash and pivot inwards)
I used a new 90/14 needle, slightly thicker than my usual 80/12, as the fabric was fairly sturdy.
I sewed all of the seams on my sewing machine and then overlocked the raw edges to tidy and strengthen them. I’m not brave enough to sew straight onto my overlocker – I tend to suffer from that common syndrome known as ‘wiggly seamitis’
I used a zig zag stitch set to 2.0 length and 1.4 width. I figured that as this fabric has 30% stretch I would be better using a stitch that would stretch with it, especially as a jacket tends to get a lot of stress around the arms / shoulder area.
I used clear elastic to stabilise and strengthen the shoulder seams.
I used lightweight stretch interfacing on the collar and facings although I had to be very careful when applying the iron because of the risk of flattening the nap and making it shiny (due to the spandex). I used a cool iron and pressing cloth and took my time. It took a couple of pressings to get the interfacing to adhere but I managed without causing any damage to the front of the fabric
I decided not to use the cuffs that are part of the pattern as I have such short arms anyway and cuffs mean that the sleeves end up looking extremely short on me.
Things that didn’t go well or things that I would change next time
Oh dear, in trying to be ‘clever’ and save time I made a right hash fairly early on which cost me at least an hour to put right. The pattern instructs you to sew the front shoulder seam to the back shoulder seam. You then sew the back neck areas together and then attach the back collar around the back bodice and join up with the inside edge of the front shoulder seam (it isn’t as complicated as I describe it, honestly).
There is a tricky corner to work around right where the shoulder seam meets the collar and I remember last time that when I tried to top stitch across the shoulder seam it was made more tricky by having to negotiate this tricky corner. So me, thinking I knew best (pride before a fall and all that) decided to top stitch the shoulder seams first before attaching the back collar. It seemed like a good idea at the time but eek an utterly terrible one in practice. By having top stitched right up to the tricky corner it was then next to impossible to attach the collar neatly into that area. I was left with some very ugly looking holes slap bang in the most prominent place on each corner. I wish I had taken a photo to show you but you are probably best never seeing the mess that I made – be assured it was the stuff of nightmares and once seen, not easily forgotten!
It took an age to unpick and I ended up accidentally cutting further small holes into the seam area as I was in a bit of a grumpy mood and not working as carefully as I should have. Having said all that, I did manage to unpick my mess and resew everything correctly. Although I have no idea how it happened, you can’t actually see the damage I did by my tardy unpicking fracas.
The finished jacket
I am a huge fan of this pattern so I was always going to love the jacket no matter what and how could I fail to love anything made with this utterly gorgeous fabric?
It isn’t as soft and comfortable to wear as my previous Ponte knit version which is the kind of jacket that I can just pop on to go down to the shops, go see a friend or just slop around the house in. But having said that, although this version feels more formal and ever so slightly posh, it is comfortable and I feel great wearing it.
Cost to make
Fabric: £13.95 x 1.7m = £23.71
1 reel of Gutterman thread – £1.60
10cm of clear elastic for shoulder seams – 10p
Lightweight stretch fusible interfacing – approximately 0.5m – £2.50
Total cost to make: £27.91